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to have apparently pissed my sister off enough that she hung up on me? Long sorry

(14 Posts)
Portofino Fri 21-Aug-09 21:56:59

Bit of background. My mum died when i was 4, and sis was 2. We were brought up by my maternal gps. My dad has always been involved but kind of in a hands off way. He maintained us financially but we saw him I guess in a NR parent way, weekends, dinner in the week etc. It was hard at times but not THAT hard. Dsis and I both went to Uni and then got on with our lives.

Dad is now on 3rd wife and is an alcoholic, and in poor health, OCPD and diabetes. He was sacked from his very senior job last year and has no hope of finding another. We admit among ourselves that he does not help himself helathwise and have made efforts to find him more support.

Dsis has had some fallings out with my dad but recently invited him to come and stay with her. He has got a bit nervous about going out these days, but looked forward to the trip. Dsis is starting a new job next month, so told him he needed to leave it a little while so she could get the start of term/new job under way first.

I had a conversation with him a couple of weeks ago and we agreed she had a lot on at the mo. No expectation on his part to go immediately.

So next week she is coming to visit me. Tonight he rang me to ask if I could get some stuff to send back to UK with her, tobabcco and Carrefour Olive Oil. Whilst I am on the phone she rings my mobile, asking if I am speaking to him, to get off the phone immediately as her DH wants to speak to him(????)

Basically DBIL told him that he can't come to stay as Dsis is too stressed to cope with him. I agree that having him to stay is nothing to be taken lightly but she had actually invited him to come!

Dad is very upset, but trying not to be. I am a bit stumped as to what to say. She then rings me. I try to be diplomatic, but it gets to the point where she blames him for everything that had ever gone wrong in her entire life (she is nearly40 btw). And especially the fact that he stopped her from doing her PGCE when she was 21 as he "didn't sign the form".

At this point I said, sorry you were an adult when you were 21, he couldn't have stopped you from doing anything. At which point she hung up.

I don't DO drama like this. I have no idea whether i am right or wrong. My dad is not the ideal father by any means, but....

SycamoretreeIsFullOfResolve Fri 21-Aug-09 22:04:22

She's not mad at you, she's mad at the situation. She's stressed, hurt and unhappy and you are probably one of the few people in life she can put the phone down on and count on not to turn your back on her.

How long has it been since this happened?

If you can, be the bigger person and call her and tell her you're sorry she's angry, but you're just calling back to tell her that you love her.

Sorry you are both having to go through all this at the moment. It's very hard when a parent becomes a dependent to some extent sad

Uriel Fri 21-Aug-09 22:09:21

You weren't being unreasonable to say it, but it doesn't sound like your sister can cope with that at the moment.

Ring her back tomorrow and tell her you're looking forward to seeing her and you can have a relaxed chat about things.

Portofino Fri 21-Aug-09 22:31:09

Don't mean to AIBU by stealth, but Dsis was head hunted by an Accountancy firm on graduation. She's talked about PGCE recently as a child friendly career option as her youngest recently started school. I never heard mention of it before. She graduated in 1991.

Portofino Fri 21-Aug-09 22:33:36

And i have to add that she just texted me and I think we are still "friends"

SycamoretreeIsFullOfResolve Fri 21-Aug-09 22:34:19

It's irrational Porto - she knows that. It just illustrates how stressed and out of control she's feeling that she's harking back to some juncture in her life where she could have made a decision she now feels would mean she was a happier person.

Applying logic to this situation is probably futile.

You have every right to feel angry with her. But it sounds to me like she's floundering and a bit panicky at the mo.

GibbonInARibbon Fri 21-Aug-09 22:39:09

You may have coped well with the abandonment by your father as a child but you sister may feel very differently.
YANBU but you could be a little more understanding and not presume how she feels about the whole situation. Hope all works out ok.

Portofino Fri 21-Aug-09 22:42:44

And thank you both of you. It gets so emotional this family stuff! And you are both quite right! I love my sister but I think I get frustated that everything is the fault of someone else. She is more mixed up about what happened than I am. We need to talk about it.

SycamoretreeIsFullOfResolve Sat 22-Aug-09 09:30:37

I'm looking at my two kids now - 4 and 2. If I died tomorrow my elder daughter would remember me, I think. I don't think my son would have a hope.

Do you have memories of your mother? If so, presumably you have some memories of all of you living together as a family, even if only fleeting ones.

I doubt your sister has any of these. It's a very sad situation for all of you, and I bet some part of your frustration with her is to do with how hard you have worked to move on, and so you get angry when you can't see her making the same effort.

Perhaps it also threatens the peace you have come to about your dad leaving you to the care of your GP's at such a devastating time?

Perhaps not - just a thought.

I hope you and your sis make up. smile

Portofino Sat 22-Aug-09 13:18:46

I don't know that I have worked hard to move on. In my case it's more a sense that I accept that was happened was tragic, but that everyone did the best they could in very difficult circumstances. My my was ill for 2 years and in and out of hospital - we effectively never really lived together as a family for any time. I have only vague memories of her.

We weren't abandoned. We never went without love and attention and my dad was always there. When we were small he couldn't have looked after us as he still had to work. The intention was that we would move back with him when we were old enough to come home from school alone ie about 12/13. When it got to that point, we were busy with school and friends and boys and weren't bothered.

We had a good education and have both done alright. Both married with kids. Dsis made the decision to be a SAHM when her eldest was born and has not worked ft for 12 years. Her new job is effectively the first "proper" job that she has done since, so i totally understand that she is stressed and anxious about it.

I do not agree that this is my dad's "fault" though. She could have done her PGCE at any time since then if she wanted to. I wanted to leave school at 16 and do a vocational college course. I was "strongly encouraged" to do my A'levels instead. I was furious about the situation, and still think the decision was wrong to this day. But it's done and gone, and I've done OK, though maybe not in a job I'm passionate about.

20 years on, would it be reasonable to still be blaming family members for this? I think you are responsible for your own happiness. I guess I find it hard to understand why my sister frequently distorts the past to make it sound terrible - we were practically abused in her eyes. And my poor GP lost their eldest daughter and sacrificed a lot to bring us up - they never regained the freedom they would have had when their own children left home. I find it a bit insulting to them that she looks back at her very comfortable childhood and makes it sounds awful IFYSWIM.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 22-Aug-09 13:21:30

I think your sister is annoyed and taking it out on you and your dad. sad

SycamoretreeIsFullOfResolve Sat 22-Aug-09 14:23:39

Porto - I think you have the correct assessment of the situation.

However, we can never know the inside of another persons mind.

Who knows why she feels the way she does. You can either assume that it's because she's somehow inferior in terms of her moral susbtance/strength of character to you, or you can assume that she experienced things differently to you, therefore she has a different attitude to what happened.

And everything that has happened in your lives since then colours the past. If she is unhappy at the moment she may well be looking for someone to blame.

Your father is an easy target.

It may not be fair or right, but your original OP seemed to suggest this was the first time you and your sis had had a ruck like this so maybe you can put this one down to the tough time she's having.

However, you would both probably benefit from opening up about how you both feel about your childhood.

I did this with my sister when my father died. It was quite shocking actually. I found out she had had counselling over how insecure she felt next to me all her life. There was more, but I was shocked to the core about this. I had absolutely no idea - I thought she was the all-confident, A student with all the friends...turns out she saw things very differently.

Anyway, I do hope it all works out.

Am off on hols now, which is why I won't be back to this thread (in case you think I've joined in then left you hanging) smile

diddl Sat 22-Aug-09 16:50:41

Is it possible that your BIL has put his foot down and refused to have your dad?
And your sister was caught out making a silly excuse?

Portofino Sat 22-Aug-09 21:53:34

It is possible. But my dad was flexible on dates according to him. He knew full well that dsis would have her hands full in September. Her version is "he's not listening to how stressd I am". His version is "when is it a good time for me to come?"

I feel a bit caught in the middle. She did a similar thing with my GP. Planned a granny annexe. Couldn't get planning permission. Stressed for months about it. GP didn't actually want to move there anyway....middle of nowhere...

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